Imagine all the cross-country ski trails in New England crammed into an area slightly smaller than New Hampshire. Now, raise the base elevation to a plateau of 3,500 feet. Then bulldoze a 10-foot-wide, perfectly groomed boulevard of a cross-country ski trail from Concord to Berlin, and you’ve got something on par with the Nordic haven that is the Jura.
Straddling the border of France and Switzerland, about a 30-minute drive from Geneva, the Jura Mountains offer an interconnected network of more than 2,100 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails. The region has a rustic authenticity that is reflected in its satisfying and hearty cuisine, isolated farmhouses and friendly people, who are among France’s most hospitable. The charm lies in the laid-back way of life up on the “plateau.” It is out of the way, and that’s the point.
The artery that runs through the Massif du Jura is a trail more than 100 miles long called the Grande Traversée du Jura, which parallels the arc of the crescent-shaped mountain range. The trail is maintained and groomed through the winter for both classic and skating techniques. Skiing it end to end would make for a vigorous weeklong vacation, but it would take years to ski the almost limitless network of trails branching off it. Read more